Since shoulder discomfort is the third leading musculoskeletal complaint among middle-aged adults there is interest in the proper approach to shoulder pain relief. Many times, treatment depends on the type of healthcare practitioner initially seen. A common-sense approach is to try the most conservative type of care first, since more aggressive types of care carry more risk. This article will discuss common causes of mechanical shoulder pain and a nonsurgical, nonpharmacologic treatment option for shoulder pain relief.
The shoulder is a complex joint. Along with the thumb and the hip joints it is one of three joints in the human body that moves in every direction. The shoulder joint should move fully and freely in its ranges of motion. However, injury of the shoulder can reduce aspects of proper movement and create intermittent or constant pain. A sometimes overlooked, feature of the shoulder is it’s association with the neck and upper back.
Research shows that improper movement of the spinal bones of the neck and upper back can have an influence on shoulder discomfort. The spinal bones should move freely. If they are fixated and not moving properly, a medical term called dysfunction, the spinal nerves which innervate the muscles of the shoulder can contribute to shoulder problems.
Doctors of chiropractic typically perform examinations upon patients with shoulder complaints to assess the cause of the condition. X-rays of the shoulder and neck and upper back may be helpful. Palpation, which is simply a doctor feeling the muscles and movement of joints of the shoulder, neck and upper back, can reveal if the areas are moving properly or if there is fixation and dysfunction.
If so, chiropractic spinal manipulation can be directed at improving mobility in the spinal areas to help reduce pain. Additionally, chiropractic manipulation of the shoulder joint itself can restore that joint’s proper movement. Other modalities such as the use of ice packs, electrical muscle stimulation and therapeutic exercises can lead to resolution of shoulder problems.
Most patients who go to a chiropractor for shoulder pain find that having a chiropractic spinal and shoulder manipulation is a safe, pleasurable experience because it relieves discomfort and restores shoulder ranges of motion.
Although medication’s, steroid injections and surgery are considered by many, most patients do better under conservative care. It’s important to consider non-surgical options first since surgery does entail substantial risk.
For this reason, many suffering from shoulder discomfort turn to safe, gentle chiropractic care to obtain shoulder pain relief.